Guest Post: In South Korea, Why Pinays Don’t Mix
Finally, I have a decent post on my blog. It isn’t mine, though. This article is written by Danessa Alinsug, a Filipina writer who is married to a Korean. Read on.
In South Korea, Why Pinays Don’t Mix
While it may be well-known that Filipinas are among the nicest people on earth, most foreigners don’t know how harsh (and sometimes, crazy) Filipinas can be to other Filipinas.
Take the case of Maricel, a 33 year-old Pinay who’s a regular at the Philippine Sunday Market at Hye-hwa Dong, whose “kabit” (other woman) joke got her into trouble with another Filipina and her American husband, although they were sitting at opposite ends of the same table eating some snacks.
Maricel vows she didn’t know the woman but overhearing the “kabit” joke, the woman walked towards her, pointed a finger at her and muttered under her breath, “ang tanga-tanga mo.”
The woman”s husband, on the other hand, joined in by hurling “f**k off, f**k off” over and over.
As if being verbally ganged up was not enough, the woman (still unidentified until now) took pictures of Maricel with the threat, “You’re in big trouble.” Then the woman and her husband left Hye-hwa Dong and nothing was heard again from them again. Witnesses were too shocked to say or do anything when it happened.
Although what happened to Maricel is an extreme case and rarely, if ever, happens at the Philippine Sunday Market in South Korea, it’s really only symptomatic of how Filipinos relate to each other here in South Korea. (Estimates dated 2009 put the number of Filipinos living in South Korea at 45,913.)
I have been living in South Korea since 2008 but the Filipinas that I did meet here in South Korea do NOT want to get too close or be close friends with other Filipinas. For them, Filipina friends are few and carefully chosen. Why? For the reasons I’ve listed below.
1. Tsismis (Gossip)
Apparently, while some quarters love to gossip, there are Pinays who are allergic to this pastime, for good reason. Rumors that get off the rumor mill are things that can land you in prison in South Korea if they were true, like who’s cheating on their Korean husbands, and with who.
2. Cat fights
There are many reasons why fighting would erupt between groups of Filipinas even though they’re from the same country. A strong sense of pride in their own regional identity, e.g., “Bisaya,” “Tagalog” etc. is just one of them.
3. Threat of deportation
For Filipinas who are TNT, or are living in South Korea without a visa, the threat of being reported on by fellow Filipinos to the immigration authorities is very real. There’s a confirmed case where a woman reported her lender to the authorities so she didn’t have to pay him back. She gained 100,000 won in the process.
Danessa B. Alinsug
Danessa lives in Bucheon City.
I also have an unpleasant experience with Pinays here in Korea when I was still a newbie. It’s a long story and I learned from it. Sometimes there are people who misunderstand you, but you learn to just move on. They’re just not meant to be. Now, I have a group of friends that I love. I also try to invite and introduce other Pinays to my group, but there are times when they just don’t mix ;p